2016 January: I have a 3,5 years old laptop, what nowadays have more, and more problems to run the games :)
So I had an idea: I want to build a good "value for money" small, but powerful gamer PC.
First I bought a monitor, what is temporarily good to my laptop. I bought a 27" IPS FullHD LG monitor. It was only ~220$. (LG_27mp55hq_p). I am satisfied with it.
After that my first question was: What will be the standard/system size? I knew, that I don't want ATX. It is too big, with a lots of empty spaces. I searched a lot on the web, and I saw, that micro-ATX is good to build a gamer PC, but it was still too big for my concept with too many empty spaces. So I searched more the internet, and I found, what I want: the mini-ITX is absolute enough today to build a powerful little PC :)
The next question was the ideal case. My aspects/needs were these: - the (only) mini-ITX motherboard size - good ventilation - normal size/type standing CPU cooler space - normal size power supply unit space - enough space almost any VGA - USB3 ports - the design - the good price
The ideal case for me was the Thermaltace Core V1. - small dimension (HWD): 276 x 260 x 316 mm (10.9 x 10.2 x 12.4 inch) - intake 1x200 mm fan at front, and 2x80 mm fan at rear side (optional), perforated side panels (the only failure of the case is, that on the side panels aren't any dust filter - but people can do it easy homemade) - CPU cooler height limitation: 140mm - VGA length limitation: 255mm (inner chassis) / 285mm (outer chassis) - PSU length limitation: 200mm - USB 3.0 x 2, HD Audio x 1 - "CUBE" design - ~50$ price
In the case I replaced the original 200 mm fan (despite the fact that it is a very good fan) to a Cooler Master Megaflow 200 RED, because the original doesn't light, and I wanted so much modding on/in the case :) At the rear side I choose 2 pieces of Tacens Aura II 80 mm. There have good design, good performance and low noise level (~10dB). I recommend this product group to everyone. (A couple years ago I bought two pieces of 120mm to cool the water of my aquarium on summer.)
The next problem was the biggest: AMD or Intel Too the roughest AMD (A10...) is enough powerful, economy and have a good price, but the Intel is Intel. Powerful, good, but expensive (more than x1,5 higher price as an AMD A10-7870K). Finally I chose an Intel i5 4690K, because the "value for money" is the best today for this (and I was a little bit afraid of AMD).
Then the next step was almost by itself. I choose a relatively cheap mini-ITX motherboard with Z97 chipset, and with USB3 ports. The winner was the ASROCK Z97M-ITX/ac. I'm absolutely satisfied with it.
It was clear to me, that I will chose a HyperX Savage DDR3 memory with 1866MHz, CL9 and 2x4 GB KIT. I'm absolutely satisfied with it, too.
I had a CPU cooler high limitation (140 mm), so I couldn't built in anything. I didn't want water-cooling, because it's expensive, and isn't good for the case ventillation. My choose was the Cooler Master Hyper TX3 EVO, because I read a lot of good opinion about this small cooler. I think it was a good choice, and it was cheap too. :) Under this cooler I bought Artcic Cooling MX-4 cooler-paste.
As PSU I choose the modular 550W Cooler Master G550M.
The storage I solved with a Samsung 850 EVO (120GB) SSD - this is for operating system - and for everything else I bought a Seagate 2TB SSHD. So my storages are fast. :)
As VGA I wanted first a GTX960, because it is strong and cheap. But after a lot of test-watching I choose the almost twice as expensive GTX970, because it is in 1920x1080 absolutely good without much compromise. In my case only the super-big cards (3 fans) can't fit in, but I choose the most cheaper GTX970, what is the smallest but as powerful as the big ones Gigabyte GTX970 mini (GV-N970IXOC-4GB). I love it :) It was my best choice. The bigger GTX970 cards are expensiver, but are only bigger, and it was only ~340$. - If I win the lottery someday, I'm going to replace it to a GTX1080 FE :)
As peripherals I bought the following: (good "value for money") - keyboard: Genius kb g235 - hun (~10$) - It is "gamer", have good design and functioning as keyboard well :) - mouse: Hama uRage Illuminated - It is cheap, have good design, ergonomy, fabric-covered cable, changeble DPI (600-3600) and lights :) - headset: Sharkoon GSone - It has extra-large ear cushions, foldable microphone, it is robust but lightweight, ergonomy, high-quality and it is comfortable during hours of gaming sessions, and have good sound-quality. In the ~50$ price category it is absolutely winner :)
During the PC building I only had problems just because I was a total-beginner (CPU cooler install, cables and the management of them - the cable ties are my friends :) - etc...)
I'm very satisfied with my choices, the built PC and the "value for money" (all of them was ~1400$, when 285 HUF is 1 $). I am very happy, that I am a PC owner :)
Now I play in 1920x1080 with GTA V on high-very high (almost full) graphics on 60 fps, with WoT on full graphics on 110 fps, with Armored Warfare with full graphics on 50-60 fps, ..., and the PC don't want to fried, and haven't turbine-loud sound :)
I measured the "under load temperature" after 1 hour play. (Fallout 4, 1920x1080, Ultra, ~50-60fps) - meanwhile this the PC isn't too quiet yet.
2016 May: Today I changed the original one CoolerMaster CPU-cooler fan to 2 pieces Arctic F9 PWM Rev 2, so I have now a double-fan CPU-cooler. This fans have much better noise level and airflow, as the original CM fan and look better. (See on the photos) After the fan assembly I made again the cable management for the better airflow in the case.
In winter I bought a "Genius 2.1 SW-A2.1 700" speaker. It is very good buy for $ 35, I am 100% satisfied with it.
2016 December: Recently I added to the case a red LED-strip with magnet.
2017 March: Recently I change my Gsone headset to a "HyperX Cloud II". It's awesome :)
2017 April: Yesterday I added a fan-controller to the PC, it works well. I have only 3 fans, so the 4. isn't connected. Maybe in summer I will connect to the 4th an external-fan to cool myself :)
2017 November: At weekend I painted the front grille with glowing-paint, the effect is awesome :) If I fill it with light, then it shines for hours like a night-light :)
UPDATE 2019 March: I bought a new Samsung 860 EVO 500GB SSD for games and a 2,5" Seagate FireCuda 1TB hybrid-HDD for picures, music, documents, ... (what I want to store in safe for a long time). I must to modify one of the storage-holders, because in original version I can mount on it only one 3,5" and one 2,5", and now I have 3 pieces of 2,5" and one 3,5" storage for the two mounting-brackets.
I changed my CPU cooler. I had no problem with the dual-fan Hyper TX3, I just wanted to replace it. I bought a CoolerMaster GeminII M5, and I bought to this an Akasa Viper R 14cm fan. The original 12cm CM fan is low profile, loud, ... This Akasa is amazing: 14cm fan with 12cm mounting holes, good design, high pressure, high airflow, low noise, ... (better and cheaper than NF-P14r). I used Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut paste.
And I changed the fan of my VGA card too, because it was loud. I don't want to replace it to an original one, because it would be also loud. I found a forum, where somebody change the fan on the same VGA card, as mine, to a Noctua NF-A9x14 PWM. So I bought one. I must to modify the plastic front cover (cut down a few things from his back), but the new fan now fit perfectly :) I changed the thermals-pads (2 different thickness of Arctic ACTPD), and the thermal-paste too ( Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut) under the heatsink.
By the CPU fan and the VGA fan I used cable/zip-ties, because I didn't have special size srews or heatsink fan wire "clips". But it fix strong.
I changed the fan in my power-supply too. The original fan was very loud (<45dBA). I choose a Cooltek Silent Fan 120 PWM (700-1500rpm) to this. It works perfectly.
The two 80mm rear fans didn't fit in the case because of the new CPU cooler, so I mounted them out of the case.
I used vibration dampers everywhere between the fans and the heatsink/case/cover.
Now my whole comtuter is much more quieter, so this project was succesful. :)
Meanwhile the cold-white LED became much weaker, so the case looks more solid now.